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Laylah Ali: Paintings on Paper

Saturday, January 11–Sunday, April 6, 2003

Laylah Ali, Untitled, 2001.

Laylah Ali is an artist known for her small gouache drawings that ask complex questions about race, politics, and power. In the work, Ali presents seemingly simple comic book-like figures who follow orders, fight, negotiate, and lead other group members. Yet upon closer inspection, the allegiances of the uniformed characters are not as clear as they first appear, revealing complicated interpersonal relationships and ambiguous circumstances. Deceptively modest in appearance, Ali’s work is formally rich, rendered through a signature drawing style and bold color choices, and a cheery, yet eerie blue sky that is a trademark. Ali is part of what might be called “the next generation of African-American artists,” those who have place formal issues beside or in front of overt identity politics. This survey of Laylah Ali’s recent work included more than twenty-five works from Ali's renowned “Greenheads” series. The exhibition complemented two of the Gallery’s recent acquisitions by the artist. In collaboration with the Atlanta College of Art, Georgia, the exhibition was organized at the Albright-Knox by Associate Curator Claire Schneider.

This exhibition was organized by The Atlanta College of Art Gallery, Georgia, and is made possible, in Buffalo, through the generous support of Righteous Babe Records, Inc. with additional support from Cannon Design and Nichols School.